I sat down this morning to make my grocery list for the week. This particular week included our donations to the family we adopt with some friends, treats for Palmer's preschool feast, and of course our own Thanksgiving feast.
The menu for our feast always starts simple. Then Bret says "it's not Thanksgiving if we don't have candied yams" and Emily says "we have to have that special corn cause it's my favorite" and I start questioning..well...maybe we should have two pies instead of one. Then before you know it we have a 12 course meal. OK maybe not quite that bad but still.
Here is the thing. Until we moved to Pennsylvania Bret and I spent EVERY Thanksgiving with family even as children. When I say family I don't mean just our parents and brothers and sisters. I mean our parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and sometimes great aunts and uncles. A typical meal consisted of about 20 adults...at least.
Everyone brought something. My cousin made the best homemade rolls ever and my grandmother was famous for her pies. The thought of her pecan pie makes my jaw hurt remembering how incredibly sweet and decadent it was. Bret's family has their traditions that we have adopted as well. Our first Thanksgiving here I had to call his Aunt Donna to get her famous "pink salad" recipe to add to our list.
When you have so many different people contributing to the food you can have 20+ dishes and try a little of everything. We have not made it back to KS once for Thanksgiving since we moved here. The first year we spent with one of the other residents and her husband. The second year Bret's parents came. Last year Bret worked the day shift and we had a very LATE dinner with just our family and one other resident who worked that day with him.
Thanksgiving is a time of incredible homesickness for our family. We miss our parents and extended family. We miss drinking wine in the kitchen all offering to help with something. We miss playing cards after dinner and watching football and passing out wherever we can find space. We miss the things we associate Thanksgiving with. So we do the things we can on Thanksgiving. We cook the food that reminds us of home, we eat until we feel sick, and work to create our own traditions for us and for our kids.
So even though it seems silly to cook so much food for four adults and even though it would be easier to eat out we find comfort in having the same food even if the people who usually makes it isn't here.